Essay: Poof! the Phenomenon of Public Vanishing

John Kennedy used to wonder what he would do with himself after he finished his second term in the White House. He would be at "the awkward age" then, he said, "too old to begin a new career and too young to write my memoirs."

After Dallas, Kennedy was translated into a sudden myth, a permanent luminescence. It is a profitless irony that the drama of his death spared him the long, fading afterlife of the ex-powerful.

There is a phenomenon of public vanishing in America that is poignant and spooky. It is a compact enactment of the American themes of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!